ACA Members Must Now Pledge No X-rays for Subluxation Care

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ACA Members Must Now Pledge No X-rays for Subluxation Care

ACA Re-Branding Includes New Controversial Practice Standards

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has recently launched a campaign to "re-brand" the trade organization that includes a new pledge, new logo and new tagline. The ACA claims on its website to be the "largest professional chiropractic organization in the United States" however, according to the most recent 990 forms available the ACA has approximately 4500 members which equals only 6% of the entire chiropractic profession. Making the membership numbers even more questionable are reports that some chiropractic schools automatically sign students up as ACA members whether they ask to be or not.

Considering that the ACA appears to be making membership eligibility stricter, their re-branding may actually lead to fewer members.

According to their website the ACA is going to be:

1. More rigid in their standards
2. Adopting new standards of care
3. Made up of the most principled and accomplished chiropractors

One example of the new standards being promulgated by the ACA are its new x-ray guidelines. The ACA released a list of five tests it states are commonly ordered but not always necessary in chiropractic care. The recommendation includes the admonition to not take spinal x-rays in acute low back pain patients unless there are so called Red Flags and to never take repeat x-rays to monitor progress. Teaming up with ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports, the ACA’s President David Herd DC referred to these as “unneeded or overused services” and that following these recommendations would yield the “best possible care”.

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Becoming a member of the ACA now requires applicants to make a Pledge. That pledge, that every member of the ACA must agree to includes:

"As an ACA chiropractor, I pledge to make Accountability to my patients and the public a priority by adhering to treatment standards and best practices adopted by the association and by focusing on patient outcomes."

Given the adoption of this pledge it becomes clear that the ACA is completely severing any relationship with chiropractors, schools, organizations etc that utilize objective methods to identify the biomechanical component of vertebral subluxation on x-rays and utilize post x-rays to assess outcome.

It is not yet known how this new pledge and the adoption of anti-subluxation policies will affect those state organizations and their members that are affiliated with the ACA such as the California Chiropractic Association. 

Commenting on the new ACA Brand, David Herd DC, the ACA President stated:

"There's a modern movement in the chiropractic profession, and its being celebrated, propelled and defined by ACA members."

The movement in the ACA appears to be consistent with painting certain factions and practices within the chiropractic profession as outdated and not evidenced based. In fact, the ACA's new slogan is:

ACA Chiropractors - Hands Down Better

The implication, which is contrary to many state laws, is that a chiropractor who is a member of the ACA is better than any other chiropractor. Most states frown on chiropractors holding themselves out to be better than other chiropractors. Indeed, the ACA claims on their website:

"We will make the ACA logo the symbol of only the finest chiropractic care available"

The three trade organizations in chiropractic (ACA, ICA, IFCO) combined represent less that 9% of the chiropractic profession. 

McCoy Press